Local farmers may take it upon themselves to plant GM eggplant
As farmers in Brazil, Thailand, India did
Farmers are feared to take it upon themselves to plant the genetically modified (GM) eggplant under an unregulated regime given history of Brazilian, Thai, and Indian farmers’ initiative to plant GM crops without government approval.
While not concluding the case of Brazil, Thailand, and India might happen to the Philippines, International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Application (ISAAA) said this may be possible given “history repeating itself.”
That, as government itself is incapable of monitoring and implementing its own, even legislated, policies.
“It’s difficult to say what will happen, but history keeps repeating itself,” said ISAAA Global Coordinator Randy A. Hautea in a press briefing on annual global biotechnology growth.
In the early 2000’s, Brazil prohibited its own farmers from planting the Roundup Ready herbicide resistant soybean.
“One day Brazil woke up with three million hectares of Roundup soybean already planted. Its president Lula (Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva) who ran on the platform of the environment, was faced with a decision to declare three million hectares illegal or tell people ‘You farmers are better than us policymakers.’”
Brazilian farmers insisted that if the government would stop them from planting the herbicide-tolerant soybean, then their wives would plant these. And if their wives were prohibited, then their children or grandchildren would plant the crop that helped uplift their livelihood.
They got their seeds outside the Brazilian border—from Argentina.
Today, Brazil is now second biggest planter of GM crops in the world under a legal GM regime, next to the United States. It has 42.2 million hectares of GM soybean, corn, and cotton.
This also happened in Thailand were farmers’ planting of the GM ring spot virus-resistant papaya overtook government approval while Greenpeace lobbied against its planting.
From reports there are probably around 3,000 hectares papaya in Thailand now.
“We can’t tell what will happen. But based on experience, farmers make a decision that may not necessarily be consistent with the formal government decision. This story repeats itself as in Vietnam for Bt cotton and many others,” said Hautea.
Even in India, before the bollworm-resistant Bt cotton was officially commercialized, it was already on field.
Bt cotton has made India the world’s biggest cotton producer at present.
“We’ve seen over the years that it’s better to regulate, to recognize it’s there, so you can put regulation, stewardship, and accountabilities than to ignore something and pretend that it’s not there which is more dangerous.” Hautea said.
Filipino farmers currently envy farmers in Bangladesh who are now allowed to plant the GM fruit and shoot-borer resistant eggplant.
This as the Court of Appeals has issued a Writ of Kalikasan with temporary environmental protection order (TEPO) against field trials of Bt eggplant which effectively bans farmers’ planting of the GM crop.
However, farmers hope the Supreme Court will decide in their favor given the huge benefits in additional income, reduced exposure from chemical spray on farmers’ health, reduced chemical spray expense, and reduced toxicity to the environment and consumers.
Read more at http://www.mb.com.ph/local-farmers-may-take-it-upon-themselves-to-plant-gm-eggplant/#iDMCmBBHgxPA6r6u.99